How bank clerk Marion became a successful writer
FEBRUARY 12 2007
Marion Husband used to get up early in the morning to write furiously before she went to work as a bank clerk, returning at night to carry on until late. All that hard work has paid off because now the mum-of-two has had three books published in just 18 months. SARAH DALE met the award-winning author at her home in Eaglescliffe to find out more.
A photo of a handsome man in uniform sits on Marion Husband's desk in her study at her five-bedroom home in Eaglescliffe.
But he is not her husband of 21 years, John, a successful businessman. Nor is it a picture of her 19-year-old son Greg. It is a black and white photo of Paul, the hero in her first novel, The Boy I Love. His photo takes pride of place next to her laptop where she sits and writes her novels.
"He is how I see Paul. I saw this picture on the internet and now he is here while I write," explains the 45-year-old.
Marion was working as a bank clerk, a job she had done since she left school at 18, when she had her first book published in 2001. She married John in her early twenties and had two children, Kay, now 20, and Greg.
"I went back to work part-time as a bank cashier after having the children but I had always wanted to write," says Marion. "I would get up and start writing and would write until just before I had to leave the house to go to work. Then as soon as I got home I'd be back at it. "At work, I would be itching to get back to my characters and would go over scenes in my head."
"I joined a creative writing course run by Bob Beagrie, who encouraged me. He liked my work and suggested I send my short stories to Mudfog, a local publishing company." In 1998, 'Three Little Deaths' was published.
Marion joined the Teesside writing circuit, touring local pubs and clubs reading extracts from her work in the 1990s. "I was approached by Julia Darling, a big Newcastle writer," says Marion.
"She had a small press in Newcastle called Diamond Twig. She read 'Three Little Deaths' and she wrote to me and asked me if I would write something for them. She sent me a cheque for £200 for my short story. It worked out brilliantly per word, it must have been the most I've been paid by the word!
"I was asked if I had considered doing an MA but I said I hadn't got a degree. But she said I was a published author and was up to standard so I applied and Bob gave me a very good reference. Lo and behold, I got in."
Marion continued working in a bank while studying part-time for two years at Northumbria University at Newcastle.
"My husband has his own business, Synergy Interactive, and he said 'Come and work for me' so I did so I could continue writing and studying," she says. "I wrote my first book, The Boy I Love, during the first year."
It is the story of Paul, a war hero who returns from the trenches to find himself torn between desire and duty - his lover Adam and Margot, the pregnant fiancee of his dead brother. The novel is set at a time when homosexuality was illegal.
Marion says: "My tutors loved the book. I sent it to publishers but though they liked it and wrote me lovely letters they wouldn't take it on because of the subject matter."
She says: "I write in a realistic way. My work isn't girly at all.
"My second novel, Paper Moon, is about a man who comes back from the Second World War, disfigured after his Spitfire is shot down. My third novel, Say You Love Me, is about adoption, sexual abuse, relationships," she says.
"When I was a child I loved Enid Blyton and read all the school books especially. Then I moved on to Catherine Cookson and when I was 12 I moved on to the adult section in the library. I like George Orwell and Pat Barker. Incidentally, I grew up around the corner from where she lived.
"I would say the biggest influence on my writing is television. My books are very episodic. Watching soaps growing up, there is a cliffhanger before the adverts, then a bigger one at the end of the episode and smaller ones at the end of each scene. This is something I try to do in my books. I'm always thinking 'what would interest the reader?'. I'm a plot-driven novelist. I have an idea and then I create my characters around that."
Marion's next ambition is to crack the US market. I am trying to find an agent in America," she says. The Boy I Love is on the American Amazon site now and I've come across American reviews of it, especially on the gay scene."